Author Topic: aid tricks/tips/techniques  (Read 2555 times)

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Offline zippyslug

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aid tricks/tips/techniques
« on: March 16, 2007, 01:38:51 pm »
Being pretty new to the world of aid has left me scratching my head... does anybody care to share some tricks/tips/comments on:
- dealing with the cluster that aid tends to create while climbing (i.e. diasies, aiders, rope, etc etc etc)
- how do you move quicker?  I find that it's taking me an hour to climb less than 50'... any tips on the process?  I know I don't have a master technique dialed in, but I'm also not a complete fumbler.
- how do I deal with this crazy addiction?  I find myself wanting to aid climb even though I SUCK at it! :(

Offline alpineH

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2007, 02:43:58 am »
haaa yes, how do I speed up an inherently very slow aspect or type of climbing...this answer will probable very from person to person.  From my experiences, I really needed to look at my system step by step.  Meaning, every little fricken thing you do before you repeat yourself on that next piece of pro.  After you read this reply, try and think about every little step you do for each piece.  How long does it take?  Now, look at your system again and try to simplify/streamline EVERYTHING.  Reason being, it is not that one piece that was really hard to place but all the other pieces on that pitch that you wasted time on.

For example, have you been using "cam hooks" yet?  (if not, buy some!)  Let?s say you use them three times in a row, you are now 10'-12' higher with very little time spent vs. a normal SLCD, still not that long for each individual piece but how much longer do you think it takes you now to get those 10'12' higher.  Now multiply that for the whole pitch or wall.  Now think Washington Column or ElCap or any of those other awesome climbs... that?s a lot of extra time drinking beer or being able to do even bigger/longer routes.

Just my two cents.  It will be intresting to hear what others have been up doing.


Offline zippyslug

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2007, 10:48:00 am »
Yeah, got a small assortment of cam hooks and they ARE pretty cool.
One problem with them that I can see however is that they seem to do more damage to the rock.

My basis for this claim is that at one of my "practice" crags is made up of a fairly fragile rock composition (I'm not a geology buff at all... about all I can say for sure is it aint granite!).  When this rock gets wet during the winter months, it becomes softer.  I've notice that cams and nuts place in this material hold up fine, however cam hooks tend to shear out the rock as you weight them.

Anybody else seen this?  I imagine this is due to the much smaller contact patch that a cam hook tends to have; most of the pressure is coming from the top and bottom edge, where a cam or nut tend to spread out the pressure a little better.


Offline ice ravines

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2007, 09:09:48 pm »
 I hate that when that happens...I find myself taking a long ride down ! I even went further and sent pic's to black diamond equipment of the huge choss pile that Im trying to send and they thought I should repell off somehow and look for a stable area to place some form of gear.

Offline alpineH

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2007, 03:52:53 am »
Very true,  they are fast but not at all rock friendly in/to soft rock.

Offline zippyslug

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2007, 10:53:18 pm »
Ok, evaluate everything.... check.  Very likely a lot to streamline in that regard.

Specific question:
When not on a bolt ladder, do you find that you ALWAYS top step?
Of course this WILL speed up the climb if you can maximize the placements, but I'm wondering if you always force yourself to topstep for the sake of the highest possible placement OR is this more of a "when you can't reach a tricky placement any other way".

For example, say you are on an even crack and you have lots of pieces that fit nicely.  Will you max out your reach on every piece, or would you just live with the 2nd-to-top step and make the climbing a little less taxing?
What's the norm in this regard?

Offline alpineH

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2007, 03:04:32 am »
right on, good question:)  it's good to see you are really thinking about this.  Do I always top step... nope.  I find it Very taxing unless the route is less than vertical AND I have some sort of hand holds on the wall to balance myself.  I find it just takes too much time messing around and if you are struggling on every placement you are burning way to much energy.  using your second step and reaching as high as you can is totally fine. 

the less you struggle, the faster you can be.

Offline johnmac

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2007, 11:28:31 am »
About the only time I top step is when I'm reaching between fixed gear or stretching for a better placement. It's a balance between the extra reach gained versus the amount of energy used. If its not vertical then I top step a lot, but if's it's really steep I don't unless I have too.

I use a very simple system to top step based on using biners not a fifi. I picked it up on Ron's Olvesky's DVD. We are about the same size so I starting looking at some of his techniques such as teeing off and using biners and its worked pretty well so far. I usually climb with a silent partner so I have a lot of stuff hanging down in front of my harness and the fifi used to get caught on everyhing all the time.

Next time I'm out doing something and I've got my camera with me I'll try to get some pics.

Offline freakshow

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2007, 01:45:05 pm »
I use a very simple system to top step based on using biners not a fifi.

I tried this but lost a couple of biners in the process - that was the only time with that method.  An adjustable fifi works nicely on steep or overhanging terrain - otherwise I use adjustable daisies without a fifi.

Not sure if this has been mentioned but getting in those top or second steps quickly will speed you up too.  A lot of time can be wasted fucking around with gear, looking up at the next few moves, etc.. while you're still in lower steps.  Best to just cruise up two steps at a time (if possible) into your high steps and get busy.

Offline zippyslug

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 02:23:02 pm »
I'm using a fifi at the moment but have experimented with biners and loops.  Since I, too, typically climb solo with a modified grigri, that's part of my question about the clusterfuck.  Sorry, guess I should have given that little bit of info.
I find that the mass of gear right in front of my torso is hard to control (2 daisys, fifi, grigri w/ rope running through, neck cord to keep the grigri oriented upwards, etc).

As far as a smoother system, I think there is an interesting point saying to get into the upper steps quicker.  At the moment I find that I usually get into the 3rd steps and hang and visually inspect the current piece (sorta dumb since I'm already on it) and the next placement (sorta dumb since I might as well get closer to it).  Then I look at my rack, debate on what the best piece is, get the piece out, watch the snail as he flies by my up the wall............

Offline Baltoro

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Re: aid tricks/tips/techniques
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2007, 08:34:12 pm »
Zippyslug
I too have found that top stepping is usually not worth the effort. If the situation demands it though, knowing how to do it and do it with minimal effort or futzing is crucial. Get comfortable doing it, maybe practicing on solo toprope, so that when you do have to bust it out you are comfortable with the methods. Other than that, I tend to live in the second steps more often than not.

Try the TR practice with the cam hooks as well. They do much more damage to the rock though and are taboo in some soft rock areas like Zion. These can quickly become your best friends though on granite, particularly with pin scars. Having Offset Aliens and C3s is nice but there are plenty of placements that a cam hook is still ideal.

Hooking in general is something good to get comfortable with. It seems that more and more climbs are going clean (read:less damage to the rock) and some of this seems to be people pushing the limits a little more with hooks. I have no A4+/C4+ aspirations but I have used 3 consecutive hooks in a row over a dubious nut because they were the best gear options and each one was pretty bomber. Other gear might not have been so nice. I also made a crappy small cam placement work because I was too chicken $hit to use a cam hook for the second move off the belay right over a ledge. Why? The cam hook would probably have been a much better placement but I wasn't fully comfortable with them and thus went with gear that was actually more likely to have my belayer's head up my ass.

Don't knock yourself for taking a look at the piece you're already on as many a whipper has been avoided by quickly getting something else in when somebody realized the gear they were on was a timebomb about to blow. Looking at the placement to come from the lower steps usually doesn't reveal too much but it can give you a quick idea of what to expect so you're more prepared when you get to it, particularly if it requires a stressful position to get to. The less time you spend in uncomfortable positions, both mentally and physically, the better. If you're heading up a straightforward crack though, searching for the anchor rarely makes it get any closer, whereas getting your ass moving usually does. I try and get into the third step and take a look, maybe getting my piece handy and then pop up, place it, get back down to test and go! I try and give myself a set number of solid tests, depending upon the piece. If it holds that, regardless of how shitty I think it might be, I try and move on it without dwelling on it too much. Remember, the less time you spend physically or mentally stressed, the better. Besides, you can show off your ripped Screamers to all your sporto friends after you take the big fall.

I'm in the Seattle area and Index (out Hwy 2) is pretty close and I'd be more than happy to give you a brief tour out there if you can make it up this way as the weather improves. Send me a PM if interested. Have fun and be safe!

~Ryan


Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I am too lazy to do either.
M. Twight